‘I’m not selfish for taking a mid-life gap year and leaving my sons at home’

A mum quit her high-flying job to jet off on an exciting mid-life gap year leaving her children at home.

Kym Wootton, 42, left her role as a chief administrative officer for a year off in January this year.

She’s decided to focus on writing a novel, going on holidays and seeing her friends – and argues she’s not “selfish” for doing so.

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The mum-of-two left her job of 13 years at the beginning of 2023 and now relaxes and sees her friends a lot.

Kym also says she’s more present with her kids Finn, 16 and Will, 13, and her husband Mike, 49.

They’re paying their bills using Mike’s six-figure salary, but still say they have to cut back by eating out less and spending less on the boys' activities.

Now, they plan to take a road trip around the United States instead of their usual family holiday.

Despite having to cut back as a family, Kym is spending plenty of time jetting off with her pals leaving her sons at home.

Kym, a writer, from Boulder, Colorado, US, said: "I feel amazing and the best ever. I didn't even realise how anxious I had been until I stopped working.

"I have this incredible lightness. I would have felt selfish before being away from my family. Now I can spend time reading, being lazy and restful.”

She continued: “I’m much more able to roll with the stresses of everyday life. I used to think on a Sunday – 'I didn't do everything I wanted.' Instead, now I get to be in the moment with my husband and kids.

"I don't want this to just be a pause and then just go back. I want to find out exactly what I want to be and do."

Mike has been supportive since Kym decided to take time off work and the pair saved up for seven months in preparation.

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She said: "Work was a big part of my identity. Mike was really supportive.

"I'm so lucky – he hasn't made me feel guilty. The boys were really excited, before I was distracted all the time.

"I wasn't being present and checking my emails. I haven't had one moment of regret. The scariest thing was being nervous to feel lost."

Now, she spends hours writing and exercising as well as going away on girls weekends.

She said: "I meet up with friends three times a week and have lots of girls' weekends planned.

"I used to go away maybe one or twice a year. I don't get as frustrated or mad.

"When I went to the grocery shop the other day, I forgot my wallet and had to go back and get it. When I was working, I would have beaten myself up about it. Instead, I can laugh about it."

When she returns to work, Kym hopes to do so as a “successful author”.

She added: "I've learned to live on less, so I am going back I want to keep my ego in check."

But, the mum encourages other people in their forties to take a gap year too.

She said: "A traditional gap year after school helps you find out what you want to do – adults should be able to do the same.

"Even if you can have a gap month it will give you some perspective you didn't even realise. I realise I am financially privileged. "I feel really lucky."


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